*Long Beach-For the 29th year, the City of Long Beach was the host town for the Long Beach Bayou Festival. The festival took place on Saturday, June 20 and Sunday, June 21, 2015, at the beautiful grassy knoll of Rainbow Lagoon.
This popular family-friendly festival celebrates the vibrant culture, heritage and lifestyle of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana. Festival revelers were able to enjoy food, Cajun and Zydeco and blues music, dancing, dance lessons and more engaging activities geared toward the entire family. What a Time! What a Time! A great time was had by all who attended this year’s festival.
The Long Beach Bayou Festival was the destination of choice for revelers to kick off the Summer season, celebrate Summer Solstice, recent graduations, as well a place for families, spouses, couples to celebrate Father’s Day.
Nothing says “Let’s Get this Party Started” loud and clear than a strong opening set by Bonne Musique Zydeco. They revved up the Zydeco engine on full throttle to set the tone for day two of the Long Beach Bayou Festival. The dance floor filled up quickly with both beginners and advance dancers. They opened their set with “Hot Tamale Baby” with lots of gusto. Their time in the spotlight continued with “You Used to Call Me” a waltz that featured Bervick Deculus on saxophones. “Big Mamou,” “Secondline,” and “French Rockin’ Boogie” were additional tunes performed in their set.
I got a good work out this year at the Bayou Festival. I kept going back and forth from the Bayou Stage and Blues Stage. I was fortunate that it wasn’t too hot; we also experience a nice, cool Bayou breeze at the festival.
The Blues Stage was cooking on all four burners. The Bill Magee Blues Band jump started their set with “There Was a Time,” “Night Train,” “Funky Nassau,” “Rock Me Baby,” and “Walking the Dog.” Bill Magee served up some fiery guitar riffs and some soulful vocals.
Vocalist Tracy Niles is the daughter of the late great Jazz DJ/Program Host Chuck Niles of KJAZZ 88.1FM former KLON. Many smiling faces were evident as Tracy exudes joy while performing for an appreciated crowd. “Black Heart Blues,” “Waterside,” “Change the World” was several originals tunes by Tracy. Ace guitarist Chuck Alvarez wrote the song “Love is Good” and added some scorching guitar riffs to complement their set.
Over at the Bayou Stage, Chubby Carrier and his tight band were serving up some tasty tunes. The tune “Jambalaya” was a crowd favorite.
Café R&B is an energetic local band with a talented, expressive vocalist. The dance floor was full with people grooving to the following tunes “I Get Higher,” “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Everybody Wants to Buy My Kitty (Use your imagination). Roach the vocalist can cut a rug (great dancer) when not singing, which added to our visual enjoyment of their set. I enjoyed the jazzy, jump blues sound of “I’m Going Out Walking.” Roach took time to preach to the men on the tune “Snatch Back and Hold It.”
The New Orleans Traditional Jazz Band provided music for a somber ad joyous 2nd Line Parade. The festival and parade were dedicated to the memory of Mr. Harold Hambrick Jr. The parade was led by royalty that consisted of Mr. Jerome Auzenne serving as King and Mrs. Gisele Vallot Auzenne as Queen, with members of the LALA (Louisiana to Los Angeles) Secondline Dancers.
The festival continued with a dynamic, soulful blues sounds provided by Zac Harmon on the Blues Stage plus Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and Geno Delafose and the French Rockin’ Boogie on the Bayou Stage.
A great time was had by all at the 29th Annual Long Beach Bayou Festival. You can follow all of the above mentioned bands on Social Media to find out when and where their current tour will stop in your town.
Ricky Richarson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]